by Cricket Desmarais
There will come a time in your creative career when you will be asked “how much?”
For the love of all you are worth (money & otherwise!), even if you are not sure, be certain you have at least one answer. & try to practice saying it so that your voice doesn’t waver, so that your reply sounds more like a grounded statement & not a question.
In other words: DECLARE YOUR WORTH.
Trust me when I say that it will eventually become as basic & innate as the passion for the art you make. When you do it repeatedly, you eventually become secure in the value you offer & ultimately let the world know that you mean business.
I hear the groans now, but I’m sure you want to put to rest the whole “starving artist” expression once & for all & earn the money you’re worth. I’ve always hated that expression, & “the skin of my teeth,” too.
Yes, I realize this brings up SO. MUCH. STUFF. for so many of us. This post could go on & on about the idea of self worth & value, but there are books out there for that, so I’m going to keep it as simple as possible.
A little bit of market research can do wonders. Check out your creative sector, see what the going rates are in your region & go from there. Confused? Google things like: going rate 2013, ghostwriter/songwriter/musician…. whatever gig you’ve got going.
This doesn’t much apply to those of you offering a completed product. Hopefully you’ve figured out a system that works for you in your pricing- one that factors in your taxes, shipping, handling, materials, time, talent, overall magnificence & the big bucks you paid to get your education.
If it’s a service or project that needs creating, the methods are definitely different. I tend towards flexibility, usually offering my hourly rate but also considering people’s budgets. If they don’t have one, I almost always go by my hourly rate & try to offer a ballpark range of how much time it might take, being sure to allow for any extras the client might request at the last minute.
Hourly or by project, you’ll know what’s right for your genre of art. It may take a while to figure out the amount of time invested for one project vs. another, so if you’re just getting started or if the details are too great, choosing an hourly rate can be most secure for you- especially if you can give your client a guesstimate price.
If you’re still balking at the idea of asking for all of what you are worth, consider this story:
Imagine you have a foodie friend who, after years of dreaming, planning & plotting, opens a restaurant. You go there frequently, to both see & support her. Each time, she brings plate after plate of delicious food, & wine, too. When you ask for the check, she waves it off. More often than not. The gift of it eventually shifts into an awkwardness, & you finally stop eating there to avoid it.
But this friend is repeating this pattern with other friends. Soon, despite the amazing food & ambiance, the business comes to a crashing halt, unable to make what it takes to sustain it.
See what happens when you always just give it all away? Gifting & being in service for the greater good is one thing, supporting yourself in this earthly world is another.
The first time I started coaching, I was totally caught off guard & replied with an extremely nominal fee, ultimately undermining the quality of what I was offering. Even though I’d studied at a very esteemed (& costly) graduate school with some of the best contemporary writers in the world, I did not have the cajone mojo to declare my worth.
That & it felt strange to charge someone to do what I loved anyway. It took me a couple of years to get a good hard look at the value of what I was offering & learn how to make certain that the value I offered was returned.
As soulless as this sounds, I had to learn how to put a price tag on it.
Step into your worth. Sooner or later it will give you the confidence to not only declare it loud & proud, it will likely up the ante in what you’re offering in the long run. Prosperity & abundance come in when we choose to embrace all that we are.
And THAT, dear maestro, is some serious flow mojo to have coursing through your world.
Try it. & Visit over at the Facebook Page to let us all know how it goes. Sharing stories helps us ALL feel more confident.
You are SO worth it.